Public has its say on Barnstaple Asda plans

Massive plans for the Anchorwood Bank site come under scrutiny at three day exhibition

FIVE hundred people took advantage of a three-day public exhibition and consultation in Barnstaple on plans for the development of the Anchorwood Bank.

They met the prospective developers and were given an opportunity to have their say on the plans for a 40,000 square foot Asda food store and petrol filling station and up to 450 new homes, a 60-bed hotel, office space, restaurants, cafes, small shops and community facilities.

The first phase would be the development of the Asda store on part of the site, with the anticipation of a planning application going in this autumn and, if all goes well, a start of work next spring.

Outline permission for a store, houses and the other potential developments was granted by North Devon District Council in 2008. But that then envisaged a DIY store and a new application is required for alteration to a food store.

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Asda property communications manager Oliver Jones said they were pleased with the attendance at the exhibition, which was good by normal standards and that feedback so far had been really positive.

“A lot of people value the fact that it is an Asda store, because we are in the midst of a recession and Asda offers affordable goods,” he said.

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“Main concerns included whether Barnstaple needs another supermarket and we have to prove that to the council. We have already identified that a lot of people leave Barnstaple and go elsewhere to shop, not least to our Asda store in Bideford.”

With the site closer to Barnstaple town centre than other ‘out of town’ supermarkets it was hoped it would help draw people into the town, he said. Free parking would be available and people could then walk over the bridge into town.

“More than anything, people have said that the area needs regeneration,” he said. “There was also a lot of interest in the Shapland and Petter building and if it is to be retained. Some like it and some do not. It has still to be confirmed what specifically will happen to this.”

Representatives of developers Wessex Projects Ltd and Development Securities PLC were also present at the exhibition at the Park Hotel on Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week.

Feedback from the public would be reviewed by the design team and would be included in their ‘statement of community involvement’ which would form part of their planning application, said Mr Jones.

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